Jesus is tested by a law scholar on how to inherit eternal life. When Jesus asks him what the law says, he repeats what was written. Jesus responds that he is correct. That is not good enough for the lawyer, so he chooses to test Jesus again, asking who is his neighbor? Jesus responds with the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Who is our neighbor? We live in challenging times were Jesus is asking us to answer this question for ourselves. We can look inward to our own families, in our schools and workplaces. There we see our neighbors. Our neighbors may also be outside of our country. All people are exposed to suffering. All experience hardship and pain as we go through life. We all experience bitter words or the stress of taking care of a loved one. Jesus wants us to show our mercy and love to others, no matter who they may be.
There are so many images today that remind us of the struggles in our world. Struggles they never asked for or wanted. Jesus guides us to love one another and show mercy to those who are cast out our despised. Jesus guides us to act in mercy to those within our local communities and those without that struggle with addictions, homelessness, and mental illness. He wants us to show mercy to those who suffer persecution at the hands of others.
How do we show mercy to others? Sometimes all it takes is a warm compliment or smile. Other times it involves action. We can all get involved in some action group or organization. Each one of us has special skills given by God that can make a difference with someone in need. It may involve bringing others in contact with the resources they need or providing comfort in times of stress.
As followers of Christ it is up to us to walk in his footsteps. Like the good Samaritan we are traveling on our own road. As we journey toward eternal life who are your neighbors you meet on the way and how will you bring the mercy of Christ to them?
-Deacon Jeff Loeb